I’m currently leading a Bible class on the subject of civility in all aspects of life, our digital/online life included. Having always been impressed with the Comment Community Covenant on the Sojourners website*, I’ve shamelessly robbed the wording of most of it, added a bit to it, and converted it into a rough draft of a covenant for Christian involvement with Facebook.
This covenant has seven points and currently reads as follows:
1. I will make it a point to look for what is truly excellent and admirable on Facebook, focusing my attention on whatever is true, holy, just, pure, lovely, and/or worthy of praise in the eyes of God. I will not contribute anger, filthy language, lust, malice, pride, or, rage to this online community.
2. I will remind myself often that I need not post on Facebook just anything or everything that comes to my mind. When I do post, I will do so with the Golden Rule in mind, mindful that my perspectives, pictures, and words can profoundly affect others. I will do no drama.
3. I will not pay close attention to the number of friends I have on Facebook nor will I continually court the acquisition of new friends on Facebook, as if counting coup. All is vanity.
4. I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Facebook community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them.
5. I will not cause my heart needless trouble by continuing to allow an obnoxious friend’s overbearing Facebook status updates to appear in my news feed. When it is best for my own peace of mind, I will unhesitatingly hide their posts from appearing in my news feed. If necessary, I will make use of block, delete, or unfriend.
6. If after due consideration I feel I simply must express my disagreement with an idea or view of another Facebook member, I will do so without without insulting, mocking, heckling, belittling, or slandering them.
7. I will not exaggerate others’ beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes when conversing publicly or privately with others via Facebook. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt, assuming the best.
Facebook can be a remarkable tool … for both good and evil. It’s all in how you use it. May it always be with civility.
Tell me, what would you change or add to the preceding seven covenant points?
* You can see an example of the Sojourners’ Comment Community Covenant at the bottom of this page on their site.